Excited. . .about t-shirts?

It's been a while since I've been this excited about a t-shirt. But this is no ordinary 100% cotton piece of fabric. It's not going to be shoved to one side of the closet to be forgotten about, or get left on the floor until I remember to put in the wash. Let me tell you why this shirt is so special. This past Tuesday at the end of Tae Kwon Do class, one of my instructors brought in a box full of our. . .drum roll please. . .class t-shirts!

For several years, we've had two options. 1. Wear a white shirt and sweat pants (for beginners) or the white -- what do you call them? The pants that go with our gi. Gi pants. There. That's what I'm calling them for the sake of this post. 2. Wear the full uniform that would better be suited for a class set in Alaska. Or Antarctica. Or somewhere freezing cold like that. Not good for a sweltering hot day in the south.

But now we have a third option. A class t-shirt that isn't white. I've disliked wearing all white from my first class because the moment you sit on the ground to do exercises, or fall down during sparring, that white uniform picks up whatever nasty stuff is on the ground. Right now I have a black streak on the knee of my pants that just won't come off no matter what I do to it.

We've been waiting about two months since we were first told we were getting this third option. I've been so excited about them coming in, and tomorrow, I'll be able to wear it for the first time! I guess the reason that I'm so happy about a t-shirt is that I just really like being able to proudly display my school. I just feel so included and the whole class just seems more unified now. It's hard to explain, but maybe it's because a t-shirt feels so official? I'm probably known to most as the 'girl with a thousand t-shirts.' Well, that's my unoffical name at least. I have dozens of the things and they're so comfortable! Well anyway, I'm just really proud of my school right now.

Oh, and I need to include some pictures! I took a few today of the design on the front and back. Let's see if this works. . .

This first one is the image on the front. It's pretty small (the picture makes it look big) and on the left side. It shows two sparring figures. If you look closely, you can see one doing an axe kick.

The second one is on the other side. It's a good deal bigger than the front and spreads out almost over the whole back of the shirt.

Dojang Revelations

Okay. I’ll admit that some — or most rather — of these won’t be revelations. Just some simple, little insights into the martial arts world and the things we have to face when we train. As I think of more, I’ll add them to the list. If you think of any, please feel free to share.

1. You will never know just how dirty that smooth, nice looking gym floor is until you put your shoes on at the end of class and notice the bottom of your feet. Gross.
2. When one forgets to go over said gym floor with a broom at the beginning of class, the gi/dobok makes a good substitute.
3. After having now-stained-with-black pants, one will remember to sweep the floor next time.
4. 100 degree weather and a long-sleeved, thick gi/dobok does not in any way, shape, or form make sense.
5. Accidentally leaving the jacket part at home is a perfectly good way of getting out of wearing it.
6. Cutting off the sleeves and coming to class in your new sleeveless fashion statement is not.
7. Just say no to long sleeves.
8. Always remember to tie the drawstrings of the pants tightly. No, we would not like to see a display of your underwear during class.
9. Tying your belt for the first time is much harder than the other students make it look.
10. Little kids and patience just do not go together.
11. Especially when said kids are just starting out and learning the ‘boring, repetitive basics’.
12. And especially when you have a frustrated not-as-experienced blue belt who’s ready to pull out her hair – from attempting to teach little Daniel-san these ‘boring, repetitive basics’..
13. Pushups seem to be a good motivator for the kid who’s more interested in twirling around than paying attention to the instructor.
14. In fact, pushups are good motivators for just about any in-class disruption
15. "No, little white belt. I am not impressed with your Daniel-san / Jackie Chan / Chuck Norris imitation and gymnastics routine. Any previous notions of doing things like that in class should be promptly left outside the building, to be picked up at a later date — or better yet, never at all."

Wincing and Trying Not to Show It. Ah, the Joys of Class Exercise!

Well, you can tell right off the bat where I'm headed with this entry. I'm talking about exercise and the soreness that comes the next day after a really good workout. I think the degree of soreness I feel all depends on who is leading the class in the twenty minute or so warmups and exercises. Well, it depends on who is leading and what kind of workout they decide to give us. IE: If it's a day where we will be doing a lot of kicking, we will do lots of leg stretching.
Who leads the exercises depends on several factors. One: Which students are there. Two: Which instructors are there. And Three: Um. . .of course! Whatever the head instructor feels like having us do. That's definitely an important part right there.
Anyway,exercises can be really fun at times. They can also be very routine. Then there are the times when a student feels like running up and smacking the person in the front for trying to ‘work them to death’. I know I’ve had times when I’ve felt that way. But you didn’t hear that from me. Shhh! Don’t tell.
Sometimes everything goes very smoothly. Other days can be frustrating. I can feel the difference in how everything goes whenever I’ve been out of class for even a week. I can tell because I’m unable to stretch as far as I did the last time.
Well, on this class night, I definitely rediscovered some muscles I haven’t exactly been aware of. Most of the time the other blue belt or I lead the beginning workout. This night though, we had one of the instructors lead. She had us do several of the regular things that I include in my routine workout at first. But then, throughout the warmup, we did several new stretches, mostly focusing on the legs, to get us ready for a kicking night.
At the time, I noticed that I was able to go further in my stretches. Especially the butterfly (?) stretch. I was able to pull my head down to my feet. I didn’t think much of it during the time, but continued through the rest of the exercises, and through the rest of our two hour class with no problems. But the next morning. . .
Surprise, surprise!
I noticed the soreness as soon as I woke up. My first thought was "Ow, this hurts." Throughout the day, the constant soreness grew to being annoying. All those exercises based around the legs and kicking really got to me.
The pain reminded me of the night before. Usually, if we have had a more-strenuous-than-usual workout, one of the instructors will announce to the class that we need to do some light stretching when we get home so we won’t be sore in the morning. Well, no one announced this after class. Now the white belts might not have known, but all the colored belts, including me, should have remembered to do this. And as a responsible teen, I knew that I should have. I really did think about it. But once I plopped onto the couch and dropped my sparring gear beside me, all thoughts of a light stretch disappeared into the back corner of my mind.
Serves me right, I guess.
Well, I’m sure that being sore for the remainder of the week will serve as a good reminder to follow my instructor’s advice next time. Ow. . .yes, I believe it will. On the positive side, I actually like feeling sore — to a degree. It lets me know that the previous night’s practice was really productive. I’m trying to work on the same things that we covered in class so I will build those muscles up.

Oh, and another positive thing I almost forgot to add. . .we may be getting our class t-shirts at tomorrow’s class! I’m very excited about that for a couple reasons. The first is that I love to support my school and would love a martial arts t-shirt. The second is that we can opt to wear the class t-shirt and not the long-sleeved, hot, scorching, thick full uniform. I just wish we could have gotten them earlier in the summer.